Sunday Stories: PdP vs. ll
The title is missing two The’s and the two lower capital el’s can be easily mistaken for a Roman II. It is therefore deficient in almost every respect. Except in this respect: a failure of respect is the only common element between the latecomer league and the Party of disappointed People. Enough play on words, let’s travel back to the year 1985, to a school close to – but not in – Germany.
We were with five. We gathered at the back of the class, each class; last row, left corner (from our point of view). Steve, Tim, Thomas, Stijn and I: always somewhat peripheral, close to the edge. Nobody pushed me so I stayed in. Who would have told I would be the one to start an internet book event on W. Gass’ The Tunnel on the sixth day of the year 2013? All of us would, if we had known of a thing like the internet and if the book had existed at that time and if I had told the others of its existence (for I was the reader of our unfabulous unfive). Back then however we were just sitting back there using the part of our brain not required to follow the teacher for making snide remarks. Most of the time that just meant all of our brain.
We might not have been precocious, we sure were pretty damned smart. It is remarkable to feel so acutely unremarkable as we felt ourselves to be in all of our insecurity. In a boy only school Stijn and I were the girliest creatures around. I lost out even on that account, our gay history teacher falling for his chubby cherub Stijn. Steve played in a hardcore band but had no aggression in him. I was never invited to any of his concerts but dutifully bought his limited edition records. I did some soft drugs with him later on but did not step as he stoned to the harder version of them. Psychosis and late puberty are related, I think. I assume Steve is no more.
Thomas is. We exchange Happy New Year wishes almost every year. Our years are happy as well. Latecomers are not too easily disappointed. That’s mainly because we have not grown up expecting a lot. Fitting in is already something. Thomas was the center of it all which was clear from his always sitting at the leftmost end. I mostly got stuck in the middle. There’s hierarchy to latecoming as well.
Stijn by the way has become something of a captain of industry I hear. He’s also the only one to still live close to that old school. It probably has something to do with Softenon. Anything that makes you stand out diminishes latecomerness. So, Tim, you wonder? Tim will likely remain forever in the closet.
No, the latecomer league is not comprised of people who are easily disappointed. It are the precocious brats who make it to the Party of disappointed People. They learn to be self-confident. They learn to expect. We are both prone to dreaming about great expectations but us latecomers don’t take those dreams personally like they do. Our bottles aren’t corked and our spark isn’t bottled.
We know that to cut down a tree you need to go back and forth and have patience and sit in the back to the left (from your own point of view) and make snide remarks which will be taken up by those who are louder and easier picked up. They on the other hand sit in front and to the right and expect clean cuts that deal with things in a big bang.
Pdp vs. ll, ll wins but PdP makes history. That’s disappointing, for them.
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